ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For one week, kids fighting cancer or who have won the battle will trade the hospital walls for the mountains, all thanks to one special camp.
However, officials say that money has stopped coming in and now they need help from the community.
For decades, Camp Enchantment has continued to brighten up the summer for kids battling cancer in New Mexico.
Camp Enchantment is heading into its 32nd year, but it’s in a tough financial spot and needs help to keep stories like Olivia’s going.
Meet Olivia Carter. She’s a spunky third grader, who’s on the verge of turning 9.
Just hanging out with her, you may never know she’s a cancer survivor, who is counting down the days to a unique camp for kids just like her.
For a week, Olivia and 84 other kids who’ve fought or are fighting cancer can be themselves.
“I think it was great for her to be around other kids who understand what that means. Lots of kids were at the camp for years and years and years. You can go back to the camp until you’re 17. So lots of kids were older than her so she gets to see there’s a life that goes on beyond treatment,” said Brian Carter, Olivia’s father.
Hannah, Olivia’s mom, remembers the day her daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. She was only 4 years old.
She endured two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy. While she’s in recovery, she still undergoes expensive labs.
Fortunately, Camp Enchantment doesn’t cost the family a dime.
“The biggest most important reason is Camp Enchantment has never charged their campers to come to camp. This has always been free for them. We figured that it’s hard enough in their lives with everything they have going on that we make sure every one of these kids have the opportunity to come to camp. The only concern they have that week is being able to let go of mom and dad that week,” said Jay Sheraden with Camp Enchantment.
Camp officials say the cost to keep the camp around is about $2,000 for every kid. Funding from the American Cancer Society stopped in 2014. Now they look for grants and hold fundraisers, but they need more help.
“We need things like mountain bikes, fishing equipment, sleeping bags, pillows and arts and crafts supplies,” said Sheraden.
They’re willing to ask for donations to make sure more kids like Olivia, can just be kids.
“I made some friends at the end,” said Olivia.
One thing that could really help them out are gift cards, so they can get the supplies needed each year. Camp officials say they’re also always in need of volunteer staff.
Camp Enchantment runs from May 27 to June 2.
If you’re a family interested in sending your child to camp, or if you’re interested in volunteering, click here.